Blue Light Effects
A growing number of people have been paying attention to light pollution influences on their eyes in recent years. The most controversial topic is blue light. Some think we should stay away from blue light as far as possible, while some deem that not all blue light is bad for us. It depends heavily on how you treat and limit your daily exposure to blue light in a proper way.
Meanwhile, anti-blue light products like amber book light or blue light filtered glasses are constantly emerging on the market. In this case, most people might be confused about under what kind of circumstances they need anti-blue light protection.
You don’t have to dive deeper into those complicated physics to learn about blue light. In this article, we’ll wrap up all the essential information for you in an easy & logical way. Let’s walk through the following incredible facts about blue light, and you’ll know how to scientifically protect yourself from harmful blue light.
What is blue light?
Blue light is one of the several colors in the visible light spectrum.
The interesting fact is that blue light is divided into two types: harmful blue light (blue-violet light) and beneficial blue light (blue-turquoise light). These two types of blue light differ in their wavelength on the visible light spectrum.
Harmful blue light lies at the 380-450 nm on the visible light spectrum, and beneficial blue light locates at the 450-495 nm range on the visible light spectrum.
The wavelength of a light ray and the amount of energy it contains have an opposite relationship. So as you can see from the chart, light rays with short wavelengths have more energy, while those with longer wavelengths include less energy.
Blue light is posing an increasing concern for us as it has more energy per photon of light than other colors in the visible spectrum, i.e., green or red light. Therefore, if you are exposed to a high enough dosage of blue light, your body may be damaged when the blue light is absorbed by various cells.
Some research still suggests that short-wave blue light (blue-violet light), which has wavelengths between 415 and 455 nm, is more likely to result in eye damage.
Blue light can benefit the human body during daylight hours, such as attention boosting. However, most of us spend 80% of our time indoors, facing all the electronic products and digital screens. These are the primary blue light emitting sources in our daily life, especially for those office workers.
Many of you may wonder: where is blue light found in our life?
Where does blue light come from?
- Digital Screens
- LED Lighting
When we are outdoors, the sun emits a significant amount of blue light every day, and the light travels through the atmosphere. Besides, the blue and short wavelengths have high energy with the clashing of air molecules, which results in blue light scattering everywhere.
The truth is that most of us spend more time working indoors or on our electronic devices. Therefore, it is notable that those digital screens or electronic devices also produce a relatively high level of blue light. (harmful blue light) For example, your phone screen, tablet, computer screen, etc.
Besides the sunlight and the flat-panel screens, LED lighting is also the primary source of blue light. People are now exposed to more blue light than ever due to the widespread LED applications , which rely heavily on light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
Unsurprisingly, many eye doctors and health care professionals are now having a growing concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure, as our eyes and screens share close proximity, and we spend a long time looking at them. The blue-violet light can pose a significant threat to our eyes and body in the long run.
Is all the blue light bad for you?
In most cases, we usually think of its negative impacts when we hear the phrase blue light. However, not all blue light is bad for our health, and it does have some positive influences during the daytime. It helps us:
Promote alertness:when you’re not in your best physical condition, the exposure to blue light can effectively perk up your reaction time and stimulate your alertness.
Regulate circadian rhythm:the circadian rhythm is your body’s natural wake & sleep cycle. Naturally, your body uses the beneficial blue light to help you maintain a healthy sleep and wake cycle. So after the sunset, your body will inform you to sleep at night when you have less exposure to blue light.
Boost memory & cognitive function: According to a small study in 2017, the participants had a 30-minute blue light “washout” period, and they performed better on verbal memory & memory consolidation tasks afterward. However, the counterparts with an amber light “washout” didn’t perform well.
Elevate mood: According to a study conducted in 2016 in BMC Psychiatry, it indicates that blue light also is potentially beneficial in making your brain more alert and making people less sleepy during the daytime, which tends to improve overall mood.
During the daytime, we can benefit from the natural blue light emitted from the sun. You can imagine how you wake up in the morning and open the blinds, while the first sunlight through the curtain makes you feel energized and alive.
Now you know that 100% protection from all blue light is not good for your body. As mentioned before, there are two types of blue light: harmful blue light (blue-violet light) & beneficial blue light (blue-turquoise light). You can control your blue light exposure during the day to take advantage of the proper blue light. However, if you spend too much time at night on electronic products like tablets or smartphones, or you are an avid reader and prefer reading in bed before sleep, but without an amber book light to block the harmful blue light. The blue-violet light will slowly damage your eyes and body.
What does blue light do to your eyes?
Unlike UV rays, our eyes are not good at filtering those visible blue light, and nearly all visible blue light passes through our cornea and lens, then reaches our retina. These short-wave and high-energy light will lead to vision loss or even permanent eye diseases.
Digital eyestrain: blue light flickers more easily than longer and weaker wavelengths, creating a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity. This flickering and glaring may result in eyestrain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue caused by many hours sitting in front of a computer screen or reading books in bed before sleep without an eye-caring amber book light.
Age-related macular (AMD) degeneration risk: according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology(AAO), AMD is the NO.1 reason for vision loss and always happens when people are over 50 years old. When your macula is damaged as you get old, your risk of AMD increases. Blue light also triggers toxic molecules released in the photoreceptor cells, which causes damage and may lead to AMD.
Retina damage: Blue light can penetrate through the lens to our retina and cause retinal photochemical damage. Moreover, the accumulated blue light negative impacts can potentially cause damage to our retinal cells, slowly leading to retinal cell death.
What does blue light do to your sleep?
Blue light contributes to sleep disruption. Our eyes commonly use natural blue light to set the internal clock daily. Your will refresh your brain, and your brain will send signals to your body to feel awake when you expose yourself to blue light during the day. Thus if your eyes don’t perceive blue light, especially in the evening or at night, your brain will start to make you sleepy.
Circadian rhythm: It’s not good to expose yourself to blue light at night, as it can mess with your circadian rhythm, making you sleep poorly. Because blue light can trick your body into believing it’s still daytime, you will not feel sleepy but energetic and awake. In other words, exposure to blue light can make your brain stay awake when it should be winding down.
Melatonin: The other reason is that blue light exposure can also suppress melatonin production and secretion in your body. Melatonin is also known as the “Dracula of hormones,” which is your best weapon against insomnia, as it can make you feel drowsy.
For example, some book lovers and bookworms prefer to read in bed before sleep in a quiet and peaceful reading environment. However, some use regular book lights or bedside lamps with fluorescent or LED lights. These lights might be more energy-efficient, but they tend to produce more blue light than the old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.
If you are a nighttime reader in bed, you won’t notice the potential damage to your eyes & sleep in the short term. However, the significant harmful impacts will start to hurt you as you age. Hence, it’s vital to have a qualified and eye-caring amber book light to protect your eyes and sleep quality. Amber light with an 1800K color temperature can efficiently block blue light at night and guarantee a better sleep quality.
Everyone deserves an eye-caring amber book light to protect themselves from the harmful blue light, especially young kids.
How to limit blue light exposure?
We should all start to be conscious of our exposure to harmful blue light sources and learn how to protect our eyes from getting damaged by it. In terms of various sources of blue light, we should apply multiple solutions.
Electronics: if you spend a lot of time working on computers or laptops, emailing or messaging on your smartphones. Then it would be best if you considered setting up the auto night shift mode, which will automatically change the screen tone to a warmer temperature when the sun goes down at your place because the warmer hues are less irritating to your eyes at night. However, you may also need to decrease your screen time; meanwhile, try to take a frequent break allowing your eyes to have a rest.
Sunlight: If you need to spend most of your time working outdoors, a pair of blue-blocking glasses might be your obvious choice. It can efficiently block not only blue light but also UV light, and both of these lights can cause damage to your retina. Plus, these glasses allow you to ease your eyestrain when you stare at a close object for hours.
LED lighting: With modern LED lighting on the rise, we are all forced to accept excess blue light daily. So for all avid readers, particularly those bedtime readers at night, an eye-caring amber book light might be the answer. Amber book light has a special amber mode, with 1800K color temperature light, aiming to filter 99.99% of blue light and offer you 100% eye protection. Reading in bed before sleep with an amber book light will help your body produce more melatonin naturally, and then you can have better sleep quality.
In the End
Blue light is everywhere in our life. The natural sources of blue light mainly come from the sunlight in the daytime; the artificial sources of blue light may originate from electronic gadgets or some LED lighting. Interestingly, not all blue light is bad for us; specifically, blue light can be divided into two types: harmful blue light (blue-violet light) and beneficial blue light (blue-turquoise light).
Now you can see: prolonged digital screen time use can result in digital eyestrain; working outdoors without the blue-blocking glasses also causes damage to your eyes; reading in bed before sleep with an ordinary LED book light without amber mode leads to potential eye disease and sleep disorder.
Now you understand why protecting eyes from exposure to harmful blue light is of paramount importance. Appropriately protecting your eyes reduces the risk of AMD and irreversible, permanent blindness in older age. Decreasing the harmful blue light exposure is never a bad idea for your kids' teenage years and your early adulthood. Choose the most suitable method or combine these solutions based on your situation.